Green Computing

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Green computing or green IT, refers to environmentally sustainable computing or IT.It is  “the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems—such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems—efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment. Green IT also strives to achieve economic viability and improved system performance and use, while abiding by our social and ethical responsibilities. It’s resultant of global warming but actually it is ‘Desktop Warming’.

To comprehensively and effectively address the environmental impacts of computing/IT, we must adopt a holistic approach and make the entire IT lifecycle greener by addressing environmental sustainability along the following four complementary paths:

Green use — reducing the energy consumption of computers and other information systems as well as using them in an environmentally sound manner
Green disposal — refurbishing and reusing old computers and properly recycling unwanted computers and other electronic equipment
Green design — designing energy-efficient and environmentally sound components, computers, servers, cooling equipment, and data centers
Green manufacturing — manufacturing electronic components, computers, and other associated subsystems with minimal impact on the environment

Background information: The U.S Environment Protection Agency launched energy star’, a voluntary labeling program in year 1992, which is designed to promote and recognize energy-efficiency in monitors, climate control equipment, and other technologies. This resulted in the widespread adoption of sleep mode in computers and electronics popular among consumer electronics. The term “green computing” was probably introduced after the Energy Star program began; there are several USENET posts dating back to 1992 which use the term in this manner. Concurrently, the Swedish organization TCO Development launched the TCO certification program to promote low magnetic and electrical emissions from CRT-based COMPUTER DISPLAYS; this program was later expanded to include criteria on energy consumption, ergonomics, and the use of hazardous materials in construction. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a survey of over 90 government and industry initiatives on “Green ICTs”, i.e. information and communication technologies, the environment and climate change. The report concludes that initiatives concentrate on greening ICTs rather than tackling global warming and environmental degradation through the use of ICT applications. In general, only 20% of initiatives have measurable targets, with government programmes including them more frequently than business associations.Many governmental agencies have continued to implement standards and regulations that encourage green computing. The energy star program was revised in October 2006 to include stricter efficiency requirements for computer equipment, along with a tiered ranking system for approved products. More than 26 US States that have established state-wide recycling programs for obsolete computers and consumer electronics equipment. Green Computing Impact Organisation (GCIO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the end-users of computing products in being environmentally responsible motivating community of environmentally concerned IT leaders who pool their time, resources, and buying power to educate, broaden the use, and improve the efficiency of, green computing products and services. Members work to increase the ROI of green computing products through a more thorough understanding of real measurable and sustainable savings incurred by peers; enforcing a greater drive toward efficiency of vendor products by keeping a community accounting of savings generated; and through group negotiation power.

It is becoming widely understood that the way in which we are behaving as a society is  environmentally unsustainable, causing irreparable damage to our planet. Rising energy prices, together with government-imposed levies on carbon production, are increasingly impacting on the cost of doing business, making many current business practices economically unsustainable. It is becoming progressively more important for all businesses to act (and to be seen to act) in an environmentally responsible manner, both to fulfill their legal and moral obligations, but also to enhance the brand and to improve corporate image. Companies are competing in an increasingly ‘green’ market, and must avoid the real and growing financial penalties that are increasingly being levied against carbon production.

IT has a large part to play in all this. With the increasing drive towards centralized mega data centers alongside the huge growth in power hungry blade technologies in some companies, and with a shift to an equally power-hungry distributed architecture in others, the IT function of business is driving an exponential increase in demand for energy, and, along with it, is having to bear the associated cost increases.

How to Contribute in Green Computing

As computers play an ever-larger role in our lives, energy demands, costs, and waste

are escalating dramatically. Consider the following from the Climate Savers Computing

Initiative:

In a typical desktop computer, nearly half the power coming out of the wall is wasted

and never reaches the processor, memory, disks, or other components. The added heat from inefficient computers can increase the demand on air conditioners and cooling systems, making your computing equipment even more expensive to run. Even though most of today’s desktop computers are capable of automatically transitioning to a sleep or hibernate state when inactive, about 90 percent of systems have this function disabled. Some 25 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics—computers, DVD players, stereos, TVs—is consumed while the products are turned off. Turn off your computer at night so it runs only eight hours a day—you’ll reduce your energy use by 810 kWh per year and net a 67 percent annual savings. Purchase flat-screen monitors—they use significantly less energy and are not as hard on your eyes as CRTs.Purchase an Energy Star–compliant computer. Note that laptop models use much less energy than desktop units.  Plug your computer into a surge protector with a master control outlet, which automatically senses when the computer is not in use and cuts power to it and all your peripherals. Plan your computer-related activities so you can do them all at once, keeping the computer off at

other times.  Consider a smaller monitor—a 14-inch display uses 40 percent less energy than a 17-inch one. Enable the standby/sleep mode and power management settings on your computer. Forgo the screen saver—it doesn’t save energy or your screen unless you’re using an old monochrome monitor. Review document drafts and e-mails onscreen instead of printing them out. Power off your monitor when you are not using it instead of using screen savers. Consider using an ink-jet printer—although a bit slower than laser printers, inkjets use 80 to 90 percent less energy. Buy vegetable or non-petroleum-based inks—

they are made from renewable resources, require fewer hazardous solvents, and often

produce brighter, cleaner colors.  Turn off all printers and peripherals unless you are using them. Do not leave the computer running overnight or on weekends. Choose dark backgrounds for your screen display—bright-colored displays consumer more power.  Reduce the light level in your room when you are working on your computer.

Network and share printers where possible. Print on recycled-content paper. Look for non-chlorine bleached papers with 50 to 100 percent post-consumer waste. Use double-sided printing functions. E-mail communications as an alternative to paper memos and fax documents.

Create Green Machines:

Activating the power management features on your computer saves energy and money while helping the environment. Your computer’s SLEEP and HIBERNATE settings are two of the most effective ways for you to make your computer more environmentally friendly. You can activate these functions manually or through your operating system’s pre-set power management settings.

Sleep Mode

Sleep or standby mode conserves energy by cutting off power to your display, hard drive, and peripherals. After a pre-set period of inactivity, your computer switches to a low power state. When you move your mouse or press any computer key, you exit sleep mode and your computer takes you back to its previous operating state. Sleep mode is an especially effective way to conserve battery power in a laptop computer. However, if your computer loses power for any reason while in sleep mode, you may lose unsaved work.

Hibernate Mode

Hibernate mode saves energy and protects your work by copying system data to a reserved area on your hard drive and then completely turning off your computer. It also reduces wear and tear on your components. When you turn power back on, your files and your documents appear on your desktop just as you left them. Be sure to set your system to automatically go into hibernate mode any time your battery power reaches a critically low level.

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